“Align, Advocate, Advance” – Remembering Where Your Passion Lies

“Align, Advocate, & Advance…”

That is the theme and flowing mantra of HCM Strategists, the firm I’m interning with this summer in Washington, DC. HCM is a public policy and advocacy consulting firm focused on advancing effective policy solutions in both health and education. Three founding partners started the firm in 2008 with the idea that good public policy ideas are created when individuals are given a voice and “sound public policy drives progress.”

I’m interning with the health team, and joined the firm this summer with the hopes of broadening my perspective on ways different organizations contribute to improving the nation’s health care “system.” The health team works with a variety of clients including nonprofits, foundations, research groups, healthcare providers, and some industry organizations.

The work, after four weeks, has involved a unique combination of consulting, policy analysis, and advocacy/public relations (a trifecta my manager promised was crucial to the work they do here. I have to give Sanford a shout out here, as I’ve been able to directly apply a lot of the central skills they look to build during the first year – legislative research and strategic planning, analyzing policies and initiatives, breaking down economic and cost evaluations of health strategies, translating data and research into briefs for managers and clients, communicating and fostering partnerships with different stakeholders (the “soft” skills).

While I’ve been glad to actively apply these skills and learn more from the work, I’ve been most impressed by the firm’s mission to genuinely focus its work back on its core passion – the people/students/patients.

Policy, and more specifically health related policy work, generally operates at the 30,000ft level with regards to scope and impact. The work the team’s involved in here takes a similar approach, but also makes a very strong effort to keep passion for patients at the heart of its operations and ensure their voices are always being heard. Nearly everything we work on is brought back down to a level that relates not only to the benefits of clients, but also how those benefits directly impact what patients are needing and strategies that best help them.

*** This is all primarily a testament to the attitudes and passion of the really cool people who work here, and the leadership of its partners! ***

After a full month in, I can gladly say I’m enjoying my time here at HCM so far, and look forward to exploring more in the world multifaceted policy work (and delicious DC eateries!!!)

We sometimes get to sit on exercise balls instead of normal chairs.

We sometimes get to sit on exercise balls instead of normal chairs

Inspiring wall with portraits of Christopher and Dana Reeve all the interns work next to. The Reeve Foundation is one of the firm's first clients

Inspiring wall with portraits of Christopher and Dana Reeve all the interns work next to. The Reeve Foundation is one of the firm’s first clients

A very cool piece of artwork donated to the firm by a client, with a significant and very cool back story (I can share with anyone who's interested)

A very cool piece of artwork donated to the firm by a client, with a significant and very cool back story (I can share with anyone who’s interested)

 

A really random shot of the Capitol as we rushed to the cab stand outside of the Rayburn House Office Building

A really random shot of the Capitol as we rushed to the cab stand outside of the Rayburn House Office Building

 

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